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  • Writer's pictureAutumn Plourd

An open letter to my girls: Mom's first marathon

Updated: May 4, 2019

It's been nearly one year since I ran my first marathon at Orange County's 2018 OC Marathon and while I didn't write a recap, I did write a letter to my girls with the message to always face adversity with a smile. I added it to their keepsake boxes that I'll gift them on their 18th birthdays, but you can read it now.

And in honor of my Grandma Ashurst's life, I recognize that while she didn't inspire this letter, she certainly gets credit for teaching our family to smile in the midst of suffering. Because "You can either cry about it or you can laugh about it. But you will always feel better if you choose to laugh."

Before the race. Alone surrounded by strangers.

May 11, 2018

I ran a marathon last weekend. I had a goal to run the whole thing and to do it in four hours. I met both goals and I learned a lot in the process. I learned the importance of training. I learned that I could push my body and mind farther than I realized. And I learned the power that my own positivity can have on the people around me.

I trained for over three months so that this race wouldn't be miserable. Turns out the race was still miserable, but I can only imagine how much worse it would have felt both at the time and after had I not trained! Many nights I waited until after you girls were in bed before starting a run and I'd go to sleep so late just to wake up bright and early the next morning to care for you. It was exhausting and draining, but the hard work paid off and the work was worth the reward! I hope you will always work hard to earn life's rewards.

The first half of the race felt amazing and effortless, but then I suddenly hit a slump and spent almost the entire second half wanting to walk while constantly overriding my brain's request to stop moving.

Friends and family sent me text messages during the race that propelled me forward and around mile 23, a pacer reminded me that when it was all said and done, I would always feel like I could have pushed harder during the race. He was right to point out that the mental aspects of this race are just as important as the physical.

At that moment, I chose to push harder and leave everything out on the course. I wanted to be an example to you girls that we can do hard things! We don't have to quit, even when we want to! And believe it or not, when the finish line was in sight, I still wanted to walk! But I didn't. We persevere; we don't give up; we conquer! You have more strength in you than you know, and don't ever forget that!

Finish line in sight and still fighting the urge to quit.

You see, before the race started I had a moment, sitting on a curb in the dark, waiting for the race to begin, I prayed. I asked God to help me through this. To stay positive. To be better. I chose to use positivity to fuel me and to lift others at the same time. This newfound positivity was noticed by your dad and my friends cheering for me at the race. They saw my smile in the midst of pain and said it inspired them and made them happy. What a blessing to share my hard work with those around me!

Pretty awesome people right there.

You are an amazing, incredible, remarkable, strong human being. You will do great things! Stay positive from start to finish and everyone around you will be lifted, and you just might look back and think yes, you gave it your all, and it was good.

Love, Mom

And let's end on some more useful Grandma Ashurst advice:

September 14th, 2018. Grandma and Blythe. Love you Grandma. I smile knowing you're with the Lord and Grandpa.

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